It's been five long years since J.K. Rowling published her seventh and final "Harry Potter" novel, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," and it seems the author is finally ready to move away from the beloved young wizard and into the world of adult novels. Publishers Little, Brown announced on Thursday that they'd reached an agreement with Rowling to publish her first book for grownups.
The publisher did not reveal any details of the book or even when eager readers could expect its release, though in a statement through the publishing house, Rowling did seem to indicate that she had finished writing the novel.
"Although I've enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the 'Harry Potter' series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world," she said. "The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life."
At the U.K. premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," Rowling told MTV News that she had been writing actively since finishing the final "Potter" book, but that she wanted the film franchise to wrap before she released anything. "I'm writing, and I've done quite a lot since finishing 'Harry,' " she said. "I also felt I wanted the last film out of the way before I made any moves on the publishing front. 'Harry' is so huge and I suppose my involvement with the world has still been quite intense. This feels like a new beginning to me."
The "Potter" series is the best-selling book series in history, with more than 450 million copies in print, and inspired the most successful film franchise ever, grossing more than $7.7 billion worldwide.
Rowling's "Potter" books were published in the U.S. by Scholastic, which does not publish novels for adult audiences. Little, Brown will be publishing Rowling's new novel in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Authors who have found great success in the young-adult genre have had mixed results writing for adults. "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer found success with her adult bestseller "The Host," but she is an exception to the rule, according to the Wall Street Journal. Though the paper notes that Rowling would enter the adult genre with one distinct advantage over authors like "Lemony Snicket" scribe Daniel Handler and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" writer Ann Brashares: Her books, like those of Meyer and "Hunger Games" author Suzanne Collins, achieve a large following among adults, who would in turn be more likely to trust her skills as an author regardless of genre.
"J.K. Rowling is simply a great writer, and no matter what she applies her talents to, we will anticipate and enjoy it," Melissa Anelli, administrator of top "Potter" fansite The Leaky Cauldron, wrote in an email to the Journal. "I'm also so intrigued by this process:
What will happen as the world's greatest children's/YA author navigates the new publishing landscape and publishes for a new audience?"
Are you excited for J.K. Rowling's first book for grownup audiences? Let us know in the comments below.